As the political globalization of the world continues there are direct implications on the human rights of citizens throughout the world. Some of these conditions are addressed with positive outcomes, yet some conditions have gotten worse as a result of the “global police,” as many entities can be seen as. Through globalization, the nations of the world have come to familiarize themselves with human rights practices that were not as easily understood prior to the expansion of the global market. The result of this familiarization has brought greater attention to human rights issues, such as child labor and women’s equality. However, globalization has also resulted in additional violations of human rights through robbing the natives in many regions of their natural resources and commerce that secures their livelihood and position. Therefore, globalization has both improved and hindered the human rights movement across the globe. The following essay will examine how human rights issues have developed specifically under political globalization and whether or not the future brings with it additional growth and development of human rights throughout the world.
The Role of Intergovernmental Organizations
Intergovernmental organizations (IGO) most well-known and influential include the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization who are entities that combine to form a type of international police over all nations of the world to oversee various activities that occur within nations. Ideally, these groups are the primary safeguard against unethical actions practiced by various government and corporate groups against the people. These groups most definitely have grown in their duties to ensure human rights practices are observed as globalization expands the relations of developed nations with undeveloped nations.
Despite the expectations that they will execute their power with integrity, there are often times that they are involved in corrupt decisions, which violate human rights policies. “For example, they often cause significant disruption in the food distribution, sanitation and pharmaceutical supplies, jeopardizing the food quality and availability of clean drinking water, severe interference with the functioning of the basic health and educational systems, in addition to undermining the right to work” (Kent, 2005). Interestingly, according to Kent (2005) these agencies that praise human rights and claim to enforce human rights efforts are not always including these obligations to be practiced within their own agencies. One could assume that there is the typical hand of bias and corruption in the way that these entities present themselves.
Although not all actions or inaction by the intergovernmental agencies are in violation of human rights the majority of the time, fortunately there are other groups that exist, unrelated to government agencies who work towards improving human rights around the world. These groups are the nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that are established as non-profit groups created to support human rights issues in various forms throughout the world without biased relations with various government agencies. According to the Council of Europe website (2015), “NGOs range from small pressure groups on, for example, specific environmental concerns or specific human rights violations, through educational charities, women's refuges, cultural associations, religious organizations, legal foundations, humanitarian assistance programs – and the list could continue – all the way to the huge international organizations with hundreds or even thousands of branches or members in different parts of the world” (Council for Europe, 2015). Additionally, it is important to note that the goal of these groups is not of financial gain, but rather to see their commitments towards these human rights issues come to fruition. It is important to mention NGOs in the fight for international human rights in the context of political globalization because of their private party establishments that are incredibly supportive of tackling violations of human rights, in addition to creating frameworks of policies to ensure fair and just actions are taking place in places around the world.
For Better or For Worse
After briefly understanding the types of groups both government and nongovernment related that exist on the international field that are associated with the enforcement of human rights laws, one can move onto examining if there has been a positive change in human rights practices as a result of globalization. A large number of studies have shown a positive correlation in the relationship between globalization and economic growth, the fact remains that it may not necessarily equal a higher observance of human rights laws (de Soysa, & Vadlamannati, 2011). The unfortunate reality is that many poor nations are facing a larger degree of disarray and social denigration as a result of globalization, which many have deemed as a ‘race to the bottom’ (de Soysa, & Vadlamannati, 2011). If this happens to be the case, then perhaps only those nations heavily evolved in commerce and trade are the nations experiencing any sincere human rights benefits.
There are two primary schools of thought on the effect globalization has on human rights, these include the liberal view and the neo-Marxist view, which can be briefly discussed to understand how globalization has affected human rights. “The liberal view can be divided into two pathways by which human rights are affected—more open markets, through which globalization processes might influence individual countries, directly influence more humane governance by minimizing capricious rule, and it indirectly influences human rights by increasing wealth” (de Soysa, & Vadlamannati, 2011). However, the critics and neo-Marxist views about globalization do not express improved conditions for all, instead only particular portions of society benefit from globalization. The problem presented is that the developed nations are the ones who benefit while the undeveloped nations just serve to improve the availability of resources to the developed nations while exploiting the people and societies of the undeveloped nations (de Soysa, & Vadlamannati, 2011).
Therefore, whether or not political globalization has helped improve human rights is a question that can be answered differently based on the angle one views the practices of globalization. One can assume that the dialogue on how globalization has affected human rights could be concluded to confirm that some nations may have benefitted, but the overall impact of globalization has primarily only brought greater attention to the issue of human rights, without necessarily making any drastic changes for citizens of every nation.
It is likely that human rights will continue to expand into the future as globalization continues to integrate economic, social, and cultural aspects of nations throughout the world. Ideally there will be modifications made to ensure that all nations, both rich and poor are included in the benefits of human rights policies. From my perspective it will be difficult to guarantee that all nations will reap the benefits of human rights policies when a large part of the IGO and NGO are made up of individuals that are citizens of richer more influential nations. It is important that the future brings with it a fair and balanced solution to promote human rights to be practiced around the world, but first corruption and greed must be addressed in order to see a sincerely workable platform to arise.
The discussion on political globalizations effects on human rights is in the hands of the IGO’s and NGO’s who are established to enforce a set of rules and regulations that the nations of the world are expected to follow. In a perfect world of high morality one could feel secure in the positive outcome of such groups; however, challenges still exist due to bias, self-interest, and corruption. Therefore, it remains questionable and inconclusive whether or not human rights throughout the globe have improved. In conclusion, one would hope that the future brings with it an emphasis on ethics and morality to those overlooking the actions of the nations to ensure human rights for all is a reality that humanity can proudly confirm.
Council of Europe. (2015). Human Rights Activism and the Role of NGOs. Retrieved from
de Soysa, I., & Vadlamannati, K. C. (2011). Does Being Bound Together Suffocate, or Liberate?
The Effects of Economic, Social, and Political Globalization on Human Rights, 1981-
2005. Kyklos, 64(1), 20-53.
Kent, G. (2005). The Human Rights Obligations of the Intergovernmental Organizations. UN
Chronicle. Retrieved from